(CMR) The Miss Cayman Islands Universe committee hosted a star-studded crowning event for Mariah Tibbetts who will serve as the 2020 Miss Cayman Islands Universe Saturday evening at Grand Old House.
The event replaced the usual pageant which was canceled due to COVID-19. However, it was no less spectacular and featured several guest speakers and Donna Bush as masters of ceremony for the evening.
Several former Miss Cayman winners were also in attendance as Kadejah Bodden relinquished her crown to her 2019 first runner up who will now represent Cayman in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant to be held sometime next year in the United States.
Bodden shared that winning the crown had changed her life in unexpected ways and she was “unprepared at how much the role would change me.” She expressed gratitude for the opportunity to serve her country in this capacity and being afforded “a very different future” than she had previously imagined for herself. She was presented with a lovely boutique of flowers and a portrait painting by local artist Franco Manderson.
This year's platform to support and partner with is the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS). Tibbetts and the committee selected as her charity during her year-long reign. The society's Vice President Tash Macfaydyen shared that the Cancer Society, one of Cayman's oldest charities, celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2020 and is entirely reliant on the support of the local community to provide their numerous services. She highlighted some of the organization's accomplishments during that time.
CICS's board and volunteers work tirelessly to raise awareness for cancers including offering free screening vouchers as well as providing financial aid for those fighting cancers. They have also funded the state of the art chemotherapy unit at the hospital and purchased two pieces of equipment for the screening of breast cancers. In the past nine years alone, CICS has assisted over 400 patients and families amounting to close to $2 million in financial aid as they deal with a cancer diagnosis. They receive no funding from the government and exist solely on donations and fundraising efforts.
Councilor David Wight spoke on behalf of the Deputy Premier and Minister of Tourism, Moses Kirkconnell, who was unable to attend due to a previous commitment in Cayman Brac. He shared that 2020 would be an unforgettable year because of the COVID-19 pandemic for everyone but despite that, he was delighted that the event was being held. He stated that the Unity Government was committed to keeping Cayman safe during the upcoming reopening of the country to start October 1.
Tibbetts was supported by a number of family members, friends, other pageant queens, and the Miss Cayman Islands committee. Tibbetts is a former Proud of Them Honoree, a certified CPA, and holder of four degrees. Making her entrance to take the crown she was serenaded by Leroy Evans with You are So Beautiful to Me. After being crowned by Bodden she took her official first walk as queen as Bermon Scott sang to her, My Caymanian Girl.
The Chairwoman on the Miss Cayman Islands University committee, Derri Dacres shared the importance of pageantry to help young ladies further their education, build their social network and develop their self-confidence. She shared that Wendy Mellaneo had recently taken up the role as her deputy.
The evening's event was held at the iconic Grand Old House in South Sound.